The self-balancing scooter is the product of the year, finally giving us the opportunity to experience the thrill of riding the hoverboard type device that we saw in ‘Back to the Future’ all them years ago. Both the general public and celebrities have jumped straight on the bandwagon and you can find pictures and videos all over social media of people enjoying their scooters. However, there is a key problem with these in the UK. They are actually illegal. They are illegal to ride on the roads and they are illegal to ride on the pavements. The only place in the UK that it is currently legal to ride a self balancing scooter is on private land with the permission of the land owner. It seems that many people were not aware of this rule and so the Metropolitan Police took to Twitter to inform users that they are actually committing a crime every time they take their scooter out for a spin.
Why are self-balancing scooters banned on the roads?
According to the Metropolitan Police the reason that self-balancing scooters are not allowed to be used on the road is because they are not approved by the ECWVTA or the MSVA and this means that they are not able to meet the requirements for licensing and registration. This has been contested by many users of the scooters and they have asked why this particular product has been targeted. The police responded by detailing that in fact this legislation was already in place prior to the inception of the scooters and was put there to control the use of Segway’s back in 2011. It just happens that the new product which is extremely similar to the original Segway is subject to the same legislation due to the fact that the mechanisms and technology used is basically the same.
Why are self-balancing scooters banned on the streets?
Scooters are banned on the streets according to section 72 of the Highway Act 1835. This act states that it is illegal to drive a vehicle on the pavement. Many people would argue that the self-balancing scooters are not actually vehicles so the use of them on streets should not be restricted. However, according to the law the scooters fall under the category of motor vehicles because they are electronically powered and use a motor and therefore are subject to the same laws as motorbikes, cars and any other motor vehicles. Another reason that these scooters have been banned on the streets is to do with safety. Although they only reach a measly 6pmh on a good day, which is less than many mobility scooters, the speed is considered to be too high and could present a danger to other pedestrians. The fact that mobility scooters are allowed on the streets and run at a higher speed is a point that has been raised by scooter users. The police responded to this by saying that mobility scooters are covered under the disability act and therefore the restrictions on them are completely different. According to this law, even something as simple as standing on your scooter while it is turned on outside your house is committing an offence if the pavement outside your house is considered to be a public footway. It’s understandable that this has raised a lot of controversy with both users and non-users. Many people do not have access to private lands where they can use their scooters which pretty much makes them useless. It doesn’t look like the law will change anytime soon and the debate continues to wage on.